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Is It Really Worth 'Upgrading' Sennheiser HD 580/600/650 Cables? - Page 3

post #31 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by kwkarth View Post

I can't take issue with your reasoning, but I would suggest that you make the effort to listen for yourself.  If you hear no difference, you've just saved a pile of money with no regrets.  If you do hear a difference and like it, then even though it will cost you money, you'll have better sound for it.
 


I think of it like a waterslide - you can slide down with absolutely clean, distilled water for almost the whole length, but if there's even one part of it that's dirty then you won't be totally clean coming out the other end. It's probably just the scientist on me trying to see things from a technical point of view, and I can't say what difference it'll make to others.

 

Maybe when I've built up a rig that can only be improved by things like interconnects then I'll consider some better wires, but as of now I don't see the point in spending as much on a pair of headphones again on a cable that makes a subtle or non-existent difference. The thing is that so many accepted traits of audiophilia are mystical anyway (burn-in?) that science has also shown makes little or no difference are well-supported by the majority of people here.

I don't think buying quality ICs is bad if you've got the cash to spare, but I do have a problem with people being scammed into thinking that a $700 cable will be vastly better than a $20 cable. Then again, some people are happy with $250 headphones and some spent $5,000, with also perhaps not as much difference as you'd hope in between.

 

...This hobby is unfathomable, but I think that's why it's so interesting. I still call for a blind cable test

post #32 of 324

NO. save your money on getting a different set of headphones or upgrading your DAC/AMP etc......

post #33 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by mr. nice View Post

NO. save your money on getting a different set of headphones or upgrading your DAC/AMP etc......

I agree.  Out of curiosity, I picked up a Cardas cable at the same time I purchased a pair of HD650s.  Using a KICAS Caliente amp, my iMac (audio out jack), and my Denon receiver (which is no slouch) as sources, I did a lot of switching back-and-forth between the stock cable and the Cardas to see if I noticed a difference.  To tell the truth, I didn't.  If there was any difference at all, it was so minor that it didn't warrant the expense of the cable.

 

Maybe you will hear differences, I don't know.  But I would imagine that if you want to truly hear leaps and bounds in sound quality improvement (however you want to measure that), your money is better spent on amplification.     


Edited by vinnievidi - 7/29/10 at 4:08pm
post #34 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoetheArachnid View Post

I think of it like a waterslide - you can slide down with absolutely clean, distilled water for almost the whole length, but if there's even one part of it that's dirty then you won't be totally clean coming out the other end. It's probably just the scientist on me trying to see things from a technical point of view, and I can't say what difference it'll make to others.

 

Maybe when I've built up a rig that can only be improved by things like interconnects then I'll consider some better wires, but as of now I don't see the point in spending as much on a pair of headphones again on a cable that makes a subtle or non-existent difference. The thing is that so many accepted traits of audiophilia are mystical anyway (burn-in?) that science has also shown makes little or no difference are well-supported by the majority of people here.

I don't think buying quality ICs is bad if you've got the cash to spare, but I do have a problem with people being scammed into thinking that a $700 cable will be vastly better than a $20 cable. Then again, some people are happy with $250 headphones and some spent $5,000, with also perhaps not as much difference as you'd hope in between.

...This hobby is unfathomable, but I think that's why it's so interesting. I still call for a blind cable test


I think this is very reasonable!  Good post!

post #35 of 324

Thanks! I try to think reasonably about this kind of thing.

post #36 of 324

No! Since you question if it is worth it, which imply to me that you are not be ready yet. Or else you would have jumped right in..

post #37 of 324

Go ahead! Hope it helps!
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexxfloo View Post




It seems we have the same hate towards exotic cable manufacturers. I'll provide the link to your translation in my own thread.

post #38 of 324

Recabling may have a sense. Here is my story: I was not happy with my HD650 and tried some SPC (Navships) and OFC (Mogami) recabling. I did not like new cables also, both were stiff and bulky, and SPC did not sound good to me. Then I measured my stock cable and... surprise! The cable resistance were pretty different for L and R channels. I assumed that cable is out of order and tried to cure it. I cut the TRS connector off, measured again and found equal resistance, something like 1.5 Ohms. I soldered new connector, listened and was finally satisfied with both SQ and convenience. So the problem was somewhere inside the stock connector.

 

I do believe that my case is not unique. Probably few bad cables were produced (or are still produced) and people really got SQ benefits from the recabling.

 

Would I buy expensive cables if I had right cable from the beginning? No, I'd better invest to the source/amp. I would probably get some expensive cables up to $500 when my source/AMP will reach $5000 mark. 10% for the cables seems reasonable to me.

 

I am still a bit worried with my cable. I am not sure whether 1.5 Ohm is a right resistance for 7 ft cable (I shortened it, it was 10 ft). If it is too much resistance, then there are probably some more "bugs", like bad soldering or anything else. Can anybody advice me on the regular resistance?


Edited by kostalex - 8/5/10 at 7:30am
post #39 of 324

I've had issues with connectors and do feel that this may have a lot to do with some instances of cable upgrades making a lot of difference.

post #40 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by beeman458 View Post

 

And remember kiddies, OpAmp rolling has the scientific community's seal of approval.  Personally, I'm an EQ kind of guy.

 

It hardly has everyone's seal of approval.  Sticking an opamp in a circuit that wasn't built for it can be a very bad idea.  Oscillation, putting out too much DC, poor performance in actual audio range, etc.

 

An opamp is a bunch of transistors bundled into one chip.  Would you randomly open an amp and start guessing what transistors to play with and what to replace them with?  Would you say your transistor guesses are actually better than the company that built the amp within a specific spec selected?

 

Just because you can throw a chip in and it makes sound doesn't mean it's making the right ones, and unless you have a scope to confirm it is then I have a hard time taking ones word for it.  Which then we have the question of whether there's any actual measurable improvement or if the results are placebo or not (let's avoid getting into that one again though).

 

Making a "bad" (which I use tongue in cheek) opamp sound good is difficult, but making a "good" opamp sound bad is remarkably easy (as is destroying gear in the process).  Unless you're engineering the circuit for the chip you are rolling you're much more likely to accomplish the latter.


Edited by Shike - 8/5/10 at 12:01pm
post #41 of 324

No one, and I will be happy to be corrected on this, has come forward after a blind test and said that they could reliably tell the difference between stock and bespoke headphone cables.

 

So buy the cable if you like its looks, get a more suitable length for your needs and are happy to know any improvement is all in the mind.

post #42 of 324
kostalex, the idea that the amount you spend on cables as a value of your total rig is not a good idea. This is the kind of thing that marketers dream about. If you have a $500,000 house, does that mean you should buy a $500 lightbulb for it? No, the 50 cent lightbulbs are just fine. As are five cent nails for the walls. Just because a $50,000 house has the same nails or lightbulbs doesn't lessen their functionality. You have to look at what something actually does, not what someone is charging for it.

That also goes to the valuation of audio gear itself. Are all $5,000 amplifiers the same? Who sets the price? Is something that originally cost $5,000 ten years ago that you paid $1,000 for still a $5,000 item? Or does it now sound like a $1,000 item? Suppose someone marks up an item to $10,000, but gives you a discounted price of $2,000. Would that sound like a $2,000 item or a $10,000 item? Dollar valuations are so slippery that there is no other choice than to be objective.

You have to objectively look at the circuit, construction, parts used, measured performance, and so on. When you become objective, you can both maximize performance and minimize cost. Some people like to maximize cost, which turns the item into a status symbol, which has nothing to do with actual performance. When you use actual performance as a measure, you can get excellent results at a low cost. If status interests you, the people who understand audio will respect you for making discriminating choices based on what actually works. The status seekers might not think much of you, but who cares?

Shike, I completely agree about opamps. Unless you have the technical skill to understand or design an amp, second-guessing the engineer who designed it is a bad idea. People like to pretend that they have some kind of magic, secret knowledge to "improve" things because the factory was "cheap" or something. However, if you don't know what you're doing, you end up with unintended consequences.
post #43 of 324

 

Originally Posted by Shike View Post

 

It hardly has everyone's seal of approval.  Sticking an opamp in a circuit that wasn't built for it can be a very bad idea.  Oscillation, putting out too much DC, poor performance in actual audio range, etc.

 

An opamp is a bunch of transistors bundled into one chip.  Would you randomly open an amp and start guessing what transistors to play with and what to replace them with?  Would you say your transistor guesses are actually better than the company that built the amp within a specific spec selected?

 

Just because you can throw a chip in and it makes sound doesn't mean it's making the right ones, and unless you have a scope to confirm it is then I have a hard time taking ones word for it.  Which then we have the question of whether there's any actual measurable improvement or if the results are placebo or not (let's avoid getting into that one again though).

 

Making a "bad" (which I use tongue in cheek) opamp sound good is difficult, but making a "good" opamp sound bad is remarkably easy (as is destroying gear in the process).  Unless you're engineering the circuit for the chip you are rolling you're much more likely to accomplish the latter.


In general, you are correct. But sometimes, an engineer chooses an opamp to meet a bill of materials cost target or parts-on-hand requirement, knowing full well that other opamps would perform better in the same circuit.

post #44 of 324
Bostonears, parts prices aren't that relevant in an amp. Labor and overhead are much larger considerations, so an extra dollar or two usually doesn't make a difference, especially when headphone amp production is so low that they're practically customs.

As for parts on hand, that would mean that the amp was designed to maximize the part on hand. It's entirely possible that the circuit would have to be tweaked to optimize the circuit for a different chip.
post #45 of 324

 

Originally Posted by Bostonears View Post


In general, you are correct. But sometimes, an engineer chooses an opamp to meet a bill of materials cost target or parts-on-hand requirement, knowing full well that other opamps would perform better in the same circuit.

 

The Benchmark DAC-1 is full of 5532 on its HP out and 4562 as DAC LPF....why, you ask? because many manufacturers believe that all the opamps sound the same. But when you read reviews of the DAC-1 many ppl call it harsh and unrefined...exactly what you should expect from a 4562/5532 combination.

 

Many opamps are unity gain stable, they will play nice if the design has decoupling caps to avoid oscillation...but this is a sterile debate, some ppl on this forum will keep telling you until the end of days that rolling opamps is BAAAAAD as they have made up their own truth by now. A chip such as LT1028 or OPA637 is pretty hopeless, you can't roll it....because the former is too damn cranky and both aren't unity gain stable anyway.

 

IME(and Mad Max/Andrea's as well), some cables can change the sound more than opamps...but yeah, I'm talking about real world experience on pretty transparent headphones...not theoritical chitchat on a public board.


Edited by leeperry - 8/6/10 at 6:21am
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